Winger Arif not satisfied with hat-trick MVP wins

KUALA LUMPUR: Arif Aiman Hanapi was named the Most Valuable Player at the 2023 National Football Awards (NFA) for a third consecutive year, but he is not satisfied.

The 22-year-old, who won a record five awards at the NFA on Monday, is focused on becoming a top footballer.

Arif, who plays for Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT), was also named best striker, most promising player, best M-League goal scorer, and joint top scorer (local player).

The Harimau Malaya winger also made the Fans XI.

"I did not expect this as I'm only 22 years old. I am happy with everything I've done so far. My awards are a source of motivation to progress in my career.

"Winning the most promising player is significant as it shows young footballers can shine in top-tier football.

"It is an honour to top the best striker category, beating the likes of Darren Lok and Faisal Halim. I want to be the best striker in Malaysian football," said Arif.

As for the MVP, Arif is the second player after Norshahrul Idlan Talaha to win the award three times. Norshahrul won it in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

JDT also swept the best goalkeeper (Ahmad Syihan Hazmi), best midfielder (Afiq Fazail), best foreign player (Bergson da Silva), and best FC awards.

Former Selangor coach Tan Cheng Hoe was named the best coach.

Syihan, who also plays for Harimau Malaya, thanked his mentor and teammate, Farizal Marlias, in his speech.

"I would like to thank my teammate Farizal, who has helped me to become a top goalkeeper," said Syihan.

The award presentation was broadcast on a private television channel, where all the acceptance speeches were recorded and aired.

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